USA migrants: Judge orders deportation plane turnaround

Judge blocks asylum seekers from deportation

According to the lawsuit, the migrant mother, known under the alias "Carmen", came to the U.S. with her young daughter after two decades of sexual abuse from her husband and death threats from a local gang in her native El Salvador.

"This is pretty outrageous", the judge told the Washington Post.

Carmen is one of several witnesses suing the Trump administration after Sessions announced in June that domestic and gang violence were not credible asylum claims.

But the ACLU said they had learned during Thursday's emergency hearing that the mother and daughter had already been put on a flight back to El Salvador by U.S. authorities.

Carmen also is a plaintiff in an ACLU lawsuit filed this week challenging a recent Justice Department policy change that aims to speed up removal of asylum-seekers who fail to prove their cases, the paper said, and that domestic and gang violence aren't reasons for getting asylum.

"I'm not happy about this at all", the judge continued. "She fled and came to the U.S. She was put in expedited removal without actually having a court hearing", said attorney Jennifer Chang-Newell.

The plane landed in El Salvador, but Carmen and her child were allowed to return to the United States.

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To qualify for asylum, migrants must show that they have a fear of persecution in their native country based on their race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a "particular social group", a category that in the past has included victims of domestic violence and other abuse.

"We also have dirty immigration lawyers who are encouraging their otherwise unlawfully present clients to make false claims of asylum, providing them with the magic words needed to trigger the credible fear process", Sessions said previous year.

"Carmen was repeatedly raped, stalked and threatened with death by her abusive husband, even when they were living apart", the ACLU said.

Under the fast-track removal system, created in 1996 under President Bill Clinton, asylum seekers are interviewed by an asylum officer to determine whether they have a "credible fear" of returning home.

Named in the ACLU's lawsuit are Sessions, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Lee Cissna and Executive Office for Immigration Review Director James McHenry.

As Carmen is with a child, and, therefore, can not be held in a typical facility for adults or separated from her child under current policy, it is likely they will be released into the American interior, free, despite having failed their credible fear determination.

'It's clear the administration's goal is to deny and deport as many people as possible, as quickly as possible, ' she said.

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